red celebrate print baubles hang on green christmas tree
Top Tips

Christmas Day Blood Sugar Control

Everyone wants to relax and enjoy Christmas day to the max. This might mean eating more than usual and letting sugar levels slip.

Here are 5 tips to help maintain blood sugar control while having fun with your loved ones.

1. Choose your drinks wisely

Many drinks contain a lot of sugar which can drastically increase the amount consumed. Sugar in the form of liquid absorbs quickly, causing sharp glucose spikes.

So I recommend stocking up on low sugar options that you can enjoy without setting off the dreaded blood sugar rollercoaster. Save the high sugar options for when your blood sugars start to drop.

If you drink alcohol, keep in mind that wine and spirits with low sugar mixers are good options!

drinks for Christmas day blood sugar control

2. Timing is key

Before a big meal make sure you pre-bolus to prevent the post-meal glucose spike. For me this is usually 20 minutes before a meal, but make sure you find the timing that works best for you.

As I have said previously, try and time high carb/ sugar snacks for when you might need a correction dose anyway, or when your sugars start to naturally dip low.

3. Play active games

Christmas day boardgames

I don’t know about you but we love to play games on Christmas day! This is a fantastic way to get some activity in without actually thinking about it.

Some game examples are:

  • Inflatable reindeer ring toss
  • Charades
  • Just Dance
  • Task Master card game
  • The Sumo Squat hook race
  • Hide and Seek

4. Go for a family walk

After Christmas dinner I love to go for a walk with my family. We usually go between main course and pudding to give ourselves a break.

Walking is a fantastic way to prevent or help to correct high blood sugars. We usually walk for around 30 minutes, and decide what games/ films we’ll play for the rest of the day.

5. Opt for lower carb starters and snacks

I usually snack on nuts, cheese, olives and cocktail sausages as well as having some crisps etc. This helps to decrease the carb load, and makes me feel less restricted.

Keeping the carb content a bit lower helps blood sugar control, and it means less corrective insulin doses!

christmas day

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Christmas activity ideas! and Homemade mince pie recipe!

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Diet, Top Tips

5 Nutrients To Boost Immunity

It is now the time of year where the days grow shorter and colder. This makes it really important to boost immunity and minimise the risk of coming down with sickness.

Here are 5 nutrients to boost immunity and how you can make sure they are sufficiently in your diet!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has many roles in immunity! It increases the production of immune cells and acts as a major antioxidant. This means it prevents cell damage from infection and promotes recovery.

kiwi fruit to boost immunity

Collagen is built from vitamin C, which is important for maintaining our skin and mucous membranes which act as barriers to pathogens.

This is a water soluble vitamin, meaning our body cannot store it. Therefore it is important to eat sources throughout the day to maintain an adequate level.

With every meal/snack try to have a handful of red pepper, citrus fruit, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, cauliflower or broccoli.


Selenium promotes antioxidant activity and helps to lower inflammation.

Inflammation is a vital process in fighting infections, but sometimes the body takes a while to reduce inflammation during infection, causing fatigue and lasting symptoms.

Everyday, try to have a source of selenium, this includes 5 brazil nuts, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds or a chicken breast.



Glutamine is an important amino acid which immune cells use for energy. When immune cells are fighting a bug off they need more energy to prevent or recover from infection.

Glutamine is also a building block for an enzyme called glutathione. Glutathione is a vital antioxidant in the body which prevents cell damage and aids the process of detoxification in the liver.

As it is an amino acid, the primary sources in the diet include poultry, beef, as well as raw spinach and cabbage.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is paramount in maintaining the first line of defence in the immune system. being a fat soluble vitamin, it maintains the mucous membrane which covers the inside of our mouth, nose, respiratory tract and digestive tract (these are a few examples).

pumpkin soup in a metal cup held by a person

This layer gathers bugs and prevents them from multiplying and causing an infection in our body. Vitamin A also helps to increase secretory IgA (sIgA) within the mucous membranes. sIgA is a broad antibody which fights against many pathogens, preventing infection.

When it comes to vitamin A in the diet, think of orange and dark green vegetables. Eat at least 2 portions of carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, broccoli and spinach everyday.


This mineral helps to activate enzymes which breakdown pathogens so they can be excreted. High immune activity depletes zinc, therefore it is really important to get sufficient zinc through the diet.

Zinc also aids taste and smell, so it is important to eat plenty of zinc if you are struggling with taste and smell post infection.

Poultry, beef, nuts, seeds and whole grains are all high in zinc. Oysters however are the richest in zinc!

* Herbal teas like mullein, echinacea and elderberry are really good when you are ill with a cold or flu. They help with hydration as well as clearing congestion. I always keep some at home just incase!

Tea to boost immunity

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes and 5 easy ways to reduce your toxin load!

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

Dangers of Frequent Hypoglycaemia

Everyone living with diabetes knows how draining hypoglycaemia can be, particularly when low sugars frequently occur. Until recently the long-term dangers of hypoglycaemia have not really been spoken about, or known. So I wanted to write a post about what recent research has started to find.

This post is not intended to scare you, but to share knowledge and to help prevent hypoglycaemia.

Frequent hypoglycaemic episodes have now been linked to increasing the risk of developing complications of diabetes, such as heart disease, retinopathy, kidney disease and impaired cognitive function (memory loss specifically). More research is needed to gain more understanding on why and for treatments on these complications.

The best way to avoid further health complications is to prevent hypoglycaemic episodes in the first place.

My tips on avoiding frequent hypoglycaemia

1. Invest in technology

If it is possible, the best place to start is to get a CGM or FGM so you can monitor your sugar levels more easily. I use the Freestyle Libre and this has really improved my diabetes control. Preventing hypos has become so much easier!

Technology for preventing frequent hypoglycaemia

2. Set your alarms with precaution

If you use a CGM or FGM with an alarm system, I recommend setting the low boundary slightly higher. This way the alarm will go off just before you dip into a hypo, giving you more time to treat and prevent the hypo.

My low alarm is set at 4.5 mmol/L, which gives me time to get my levels up before they drop lower.

3. Learn your trends

If you have frequent hypoglycaemia, try to record when your levels drop. For example, I tend to drop during the night if I have done a lot of running, to avoid this I decrease my insulin dose with dinner and I try to run earlier in the day if possible.

preventing frequent hypoglycaemia

4. Avoid ‘rage bolusing’

If you are having a stubborn high glucose, try to not over-correct and take lots of insulin. I know this can be annoying, but we are much better off getting high sugar levels down gradually, to avoid subsequent hypoglycaemia.

5. Always carry your favourite snacks!!

heart - frequent hypoglycaemia

Thank you for reading Dangers of Frequent Hypoglycaemia, I hope this post is useful, let me know if you would like more tips on this topic! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to checkout How to handle a hypo mid-workout! and Keeping your heart healthy with diabetes

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

Holiday tips to maintain sugar levels

Everyone wants to let loose on holiday and enjoy delicious food without feeling restricted. Here are my top tips on making the most of your summer holiday while managing your sugar levels!

1. Watch your drinks

smoothie - holiday tips

On holiday you are more likely to indulge in cocktails, smoothies and coffee, but remember these are often packed with sugar.

I try and choose cocktails that contain less sugar, my favourite is a mojito. If your sugars are running a bit high, ask the bartender to leave the sugar out and to give some sugar sachets so you can add the right amount for you.

If you fancy something with lots of sugar in, try and time it right, for example after a walk or swim.

2. Plan activities

Plan activities that involve some exercise, even just book a walking tour so you can explore your holiday destination and get some movement in at the same time. Play games in the pool or volleyball on the beach!

Just remember to always carry a sugary snack or money for treats if your sugars suddenly drop.

exploring - holiday tips

3. Take cool packs

It isn’t always possible to put your bag in the shade so invest is some cool packs to stop your insulin from denaturing.

Denaturing is when the insulin gets too hot, meaning it is no longer active when it enters the body. This can therefore result in very high sugar levels.

Etsy have some really nice cooler cases, I take them everywhere with me so my insulin stays cool whether I am by the pool, beach or exploring a new town.

4. Make sure you have a mini fridge

Contact your hotel and make sure there is a mini fridge in your room. The last thing you want is to arrive and then realise there is no where to safely store your insulin (I have been in this position, it’s not fun!).

5. Relax

Remember you are on holiday and you are there to have fun. If you run a little high a couple of times it is not the end of the world (not too high of course).

Go back to basics and remember timing is always the key to indulging!

relax by the pool, holiday tips

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Top tips on alcohol consumption and diabetes control! and How to Stop CGM’s from falling off

Top Tips

How to Stop CGM’s from falling off

Diabetic sensors falling off can be super annoying. It can make supplies run out quickly, increase the burden of living with type 1 and can cost a lot!

Here are my top tips for making sure they stay on until they expire!

1. Keep the skin clear

keep area dry to prevent CGM falling off

Before applying your sensor, make sure the area is clean and dry. Do not use any creams, lotions or fake tan before.

Also be aware of getting it wet or exercising right before or after applying the sensor. It can cause the glue to not stick down. I would advise waiting 1 hour before/after applying so the glue can set.

2. Sensor Placement

Learning where to place your sensor will come with experience. When I first started using the FreeStyle Libre I would put it on the side of my arm. I quickly learnt this is a prime spot for it to catch on a door frame. Now I place it further around the back to prevent this from happening.

Placement depends on the type of CGM/FGM you are using, so have an experiment and see what works best for you.

3. Wear extra support when needed

When you are doing activities that makes a sensor falling off more likely you can put another layer over the sensor. This may swimming or going to the beach etc.

Some people like to use big stickers that cover the whole sensor and upper arm, medical tape can also work well.

I personally like to carry a libre band with me so I can put this on quickly and take it off easily (what I’m wearing in the picture to the rightclick here to view on Amazon).

4. Get someone else to apply your suncream

Sun cream can get under sensors very easily, so ask someone else to apply it to the area if possible. This will also ensure the skin is fully covered, preventing sunburns.

5. Be careful in the heat

Intense heat can cause the glue to melt which makes the sensor tug away from the skin. If this happens, move somewhere cool if you can and hold the sensor down until the glue sets and re-sticks.

This happens very quickly in saunas and steam rooms, if you use these keep an eye on your sensor and don’t stay longer than 15 minutes.

sauna - preventing CGM from falling off

*Remember most sensor companies will replace faulty sensors. Contact them to see if you are entitled to a replacement.

Thank you for reading How to stop CGM’s from Falling off, I hope this was useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabetes technology 101! and HbA1c vs time in range

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

Restaurants and Diabetes 101

Eating in restaurants can be challenging for people living with diabetes, due to unknown ingredients, generous portions and long waiting times can cause problems.

Despite these challenges, it should not stop you from enjoying a meal out! Here is what to consider when eating out to help keep your sugars stable.

Look them up

restaurant menu

The first thing I do before eating out is look at the menu to get an idea of the food, and to get excited! 🙂

This way you can prepare earlier in the day if you need to. For example if you know it will be a carb heavy meal, you might decide to stay active and get some cardio in.

The majority of chain restaurants have macros available online which you can use to carb count. Also double check on apps like MyFitnessPal which has macros listed on there.

Of course independent restaurants may not have this information, so you’ll have to wing it or ask them before/when you arrive.


Knowing when to inject can be difficult when you don’t know the wait time.

I have a few methods which might help!

bowl of bread - restaurant

1.If my sugars are running slightly high, I’ll order something lower carb to start and a higher carb main. I’ll inject 10 minutes (ish) after ordering.

2. If my sugars are normal or running slightly low I’ll order a starter and main with carbs. Again I’ll inject around 10 minutes after ordering, but I will also order a drink with sugar and/or some bread to keep me going.

Ask the waiter what the wait time will roughly be so you can prepare and enjoy your food!

Different Ingredients

Restaurants often use more flour and sugar in recipes and sauces, so this means more insulin may be needed than usual.

Sometimes it is worth injecting a few extra units to account for this, and if you start to go low, you can always eat/drink more! Make sure you test regularly during the meal!

Asian dishes and tomato sauces often contain a lot of sugarso bear this in mind!

Final tips

  • I really like to go for a slow walk after eating. This can help with digestion, keep your levels stable and it is sociable!
  • Always remember to account for alcohol in your insulin (if it is sugary), and if you are drinking a lot, eat carbs with it to prevent a hypo!
  • Enjoy yourself… If you are running slightly high (not so much that you feel bad), inject a correction dose and forget about it. You deserve to have a nice meal out every now and then.
enjoy - restaurant

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out 5 ways to handle high carb meals and Been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Here’s what to do!

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

Insulin Resistance and Inflammation

What is insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is when cells across the body do not respond well to insulin. This means glucose remains in the bloodstream rather than moving into cells.

This can lead to elevated blood glucose, potentially resulting in pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Vicious cycle

high blood pressure - insulin resistance

When we start to develop insulin resistance, the body starts to produce more inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines then amplify insulin resistance, showing a vicious cycle between the two.

Other markers of inflammation are often implicated in type 2 diabetes. This includes having high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy and retinopathy.

Simple ways to boost insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation

1.Remove refined and processed sugars – The best place to start is to remove/decrease foods that cause blood sugars to spike rapidly. Processed sugars can also contribute towards increased cytokines, so be sure to stick to natural sugars.

2. Eat 8 portions of the rainbow everyday – The body needs a lot of antioxidants to overcome insulin resistance, and to prevent any damage to the body. So try to eat 8 handfuls of fresh fruit and veg everyday. Also try herbal teas (green tea is great). They are generally very high in antioxidants.

walking to reduce insulin resistance

3. Get moving – Having a sedentary lifestyle is linked to the onset of insulin resistance, so be sure to get some movement in everyday. A great habit to get into is to walk after your evening meal. The exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity, preventing a big glucose spike.

4. Eat fermented foods – A link has been found between insulin resistance and having less ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. Try and eat one fermented food everyday, such as greek yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha. This will help to decrease inflammation and will aid healthy digestion.

5. Rest up – having a stable sleep pattern is vital for overall health and helping the body to heal. So try and get 8-10 hours of sleep and stick to your schedule for the majority!

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Oxidative Stress 101 and 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

The Morning Phenomenon

Some people living with diabetes struggle with the morning phenomenon (AKA – high blood sugars in the morning). This can be confusing as we don’t expect our sugars to rise when we are sleeping and not eating.

There are a couple of different causes of the morning phenomenon, so here is everything you need to know, as well as how you can help to prevent it!


morning phenomenon

In the morning the body secretes cortisol and growth hormone. Both hormones cause blood sugar levels to rise to give us enough energy to wake up. Of course people living with diabetes either cannot make insulin, or have insulin resistance. Therefore too much sugar remains in the blood.

Morning spikes can cause fatigue as it interrupts energy delivery, so it is something we really want to prevent.

The best way to combat this is to look at your basal insulin. Take a look at your dose with your doctor and they can help to recommend a different dose, or perhaps a better time to take your basal insulin.

Waning insulin

Another cause of the morning phenomenon is not having enough insulin in your blood to last the whole night. Of course this will result with higher sugar levels.

Again, taking a look at your basal insulin is the best place to start. If you take your basal in the morning it may not last until the following morning. You and your team may decide to increase your basal dose, or even consider basal splitting. This is when you take the basal in divided doses so you have enough background insulin 24/7.

The Somogyi effect

hypo snack - morning phenomenon

The Somogyi effect is when a low blood sugar in the night causes a rebound high blood sugar. The body is overcompensating for the low blood sugar, and releases too much sugar into the blood.

The best way to prevent the Somogyi effect is to prevent the hypo in the first place. So make sure you eat enough carbs with your evening meal and try to limit exercise late at night. Always check your sugars before going to sleep, and I advise having a snack if you are below 5.0mmol/L.

My final tip is to have a portioned hypo snack by your bedside. This will prevent you over-treating a hypo during the night.

Thank you for reading the Morning Phenomenon, I hope this was useful! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Exam stress and sugar levels and Summer travelling tips

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Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

Summer travelling tips

There is lots to think about when getting ready to go travelling with diabetes.

This post will cover what might happen to your sugar levels, general tips about travelling and how to keep your insulin safe in the heat.

Sugar levels

time zones, summer travelling

The heat can cause low blood sugar levels for some people. When temperatures rise, the body dilates blood vessels to help us cool down. Dilated blood vessels can cause insulin to absorb more rapidly, resulting in a hypo. Bear this in mind and carry multiple hypo snacks.

The heat can also cause high blood sugar for some people. As I will explain below, hot temperatures can damage insulin meaning it doesn’t work properly. My best advice is to check your sugars more frequently so you catch hypo’s and hyper’s early.

If you are changing time zones, I strongly advice talking to your consultant or doctor first. You can make a plan together to safely adjust your insulin throughout your trip.


If insulin is left in direct sunlight or heat for a prolonged period of time, it will cause the insulin to ‘denature’.

keep insulin in the shade

This means the insulin is damaged and it will not work properly when injected into the body. This of course can cause high sugar levels because the insulin is not doing its job.

Therefore, it is vital to keep your insulin in the shade, and/or in a cool pack to prevent this from happening.

I recommend checking amazon out for insulin cool packs. This will allow you to enjoy your time at the beach (or whatever you are doing) without worrying about your insulin.

Also make sure you take spare insulin cartridges to replace damaged insulin. Sometimes it does happen and there isn’t much we can do about it. Keep yourself covered so this doesn’t stop you from having fun!

CGM’s and pumps

When travelling with a pump you will need to adjust the time zone on the pump to make sure you are receiving the correct amount of basal insulin.

Furthermore, heat can cause sensors to stop working sometimes, so it is important to take breaks and get your sensor out of the sun.

Always take spares – this covers any faulty sensors, or if your holiday gets extended due to flight cancellations or changing plans.

* Pumps and CGM’s should not go through airport scanners. This is because the x-rays can damage them. Make sure you get a doctors note explaining this and always carry a copy with you when travelling.

Also take a finger stick monitor and insulin pens with you to cover yourself. The last thing you want when travelling is to be panicking and trying to access medication.

Summary check list

diabetic supplies, summer travelling
  • Spare pumps
  • Spare CGM’s or FGM’s
  • Insulin pens (both basal and bolus)
  • Spare insulin cartridges for pen/pump
  • Needles
  • Testing monitor
  • Finger stick needles
  • Finger stick testing strips
  • Ketone strips and monitor
  • Cool pack for insulin
  • Hypo snacks for the journey/duration of the holiday
  • Plenty of water
  • Hand wipes
  • Medical tape (I always pack this incase my sensor becomes loose in the water/heat)
  • Doctors note to go through security with diabetic supplies

*Ensure you take enough supplies for the duration of your trip + a few days extra. Keep yourself covered for any damaged or lost medication/equipment, or if you stay longer than originally planned.

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Jamie Oliver’s Jerk Chicken Recipe and 5 foods packed with hidden sugars!

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Education on Diabetes, Psychological, Top Tips

Exam stress and sugar levels

Everyone living with diabetes knows how much stress can impact glucose control. Exam season can be incredibly stressful and keeping sugar levels stable plays an integral role in exam success.

Keep reading for my top tips on handling exam stress to keep sugar levels in check.

1. Eat regular meals

balanced meals - exam stress

It is really easy to get into the routine of consistently eating more or less when we are stressed.

So make sure you are eating 3 balanced meals a day and have snacks in between if needed. Keeping your eating routine the same will also help to keep your sugars in check.

When I am taking exams I like to meal prep so my meals are ready to go. Try and set aside an hour or two to get your food organised, this will really help!

My favourite revision/exam snacks include dark chocolate, rice crackers, nuts or an apple with peanut butter.

2. Exercise outdoors

outdoors - exam stress

Prepping for exams means sitting down and being sedentary for a long time. So getting outdoors to get fresh air, sun and exercise is vital.

Walking outdoors is calming, which makes it productive. Listen to music or a funny podcast or Youtube video. This allows your brain some rest time.

Remember to rehydrate afterwards!

3. Epsom salt baths

At the end of a busy day, take a bath with Epsom salts. This helps to replenish magnesium, is a vital mineral for relaxation.

Magnesium can become depleted during periods of chronic stress, so it is important to replace the magnesium lost.

Ty and eat magnesium rich foods everyday too, such as dark leafy greens, raw cacao powder, lentils, peanuts and cashews.

4. Regular sleep pattern

Having a consistent sleep routine boosts both mood and memory. Getting enough sleep decreases adrenaline spikes which is important in maintaining balanced sugar levels.

Feeling well rested is vital for being productive and disciplined, so make this a priority in your life.

Encourage sleep by getting blackout blinds, removing blue light 1-2 hours before bedtime and keep your bedroom at a cool temperature.

5. Get organised

organised - exam stress

Make yourself a schedule that allows time for everything!

‘Winging it‘ during exam season will contribute towards stress, so we want to avoid this.

At the beginning of every week write yourself a schedule that includes study time, exercise, lunch and coffee breaks and time for an activity you enjoy to de-stress.

Most importantly, make sure you actually stick to it. Remember it takes around 30 days to form a new habit, so stay as consistent as you can.

Also remember exam season is not forever and plan something exciting afterwards to look forward to.

celebrate - exam stress

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If you liked this post, be sure to check out Is stress making your glucose levels impossible to control? and Peanut Butter Bites!